Salads are a staple at any dinner party, especially ones hosted in the summer. Something light and refreshing with seasonal ingredients always gets my attention. This past weekend, while hosting some friends for dinner, I decided to do a little twist on the traditional pear and goat cheese salad. I had picked up some peaches, pears, and apples at the farmer’s market and I thought mixing the three would be delicious. The main trick here is to make sure that the fruit is on the crisp side, especially the peaches. You want all of the sliced fruit to hold its shape and not fall apart when you toss it. I added some sliced almonds for crunch and herbed goat cheese for its creamy texture and subtle tangy flavor. The vinaigrette really brings the whole salad together. I used some of the leftover sliced fruit to get every last remnant of the smooth, sweet, and ever so slightly smokey dressing on my plate.
serves 4 salad portions or 2 dinner portions
- 1/2 large apple (I used Fuji), thinly sliced (about 1/8 of an inch)
- 1/2 large pear (I used Anjou), thinly sliced (about 1/8 of an inch)
- 1/2 large peach, thinly sliced (about 1/8 of an inch)
- 2.5-3 ounces baby arugula (about half of one of those pre-washed boxes)
- 2 ounces herbed goat cheese, broken into chunks
- a handful of sliced almonds, about 1/4 cup
For the vinaigrette (adapted from The Pioneer Woman):
- 1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 heaping tablespoon good quality real maple syrup (I get mine from my high school, Northfield Mount Hermon)
- 1 teaspoon white white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing: Add all of the ingredients, in the order listed above, into a mason jar or a small measuring cup. Shake/whisk it all together until all of the ingredients are incorporated into a smooth liquid.
Place the arugula (washed and dried) into a large salad bowl. Add the sliced pears, peaches, and apples. Sprinkle in the sliced almonds. Evenly place the small chunks of goat cheese. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss and enjoy!